Mercury - Verado 225 HP
Why Verado Is Different
When designing the in-line 6 Verado outboards -- 225, 250, and 300-hp models -- Mercury engineers decided to create an engine that would be more durable than anything else on the market. They also wanted an engine that could have peak performance on hot, humid summer days when most people use their boats. Further, they wanted to address the problems that boaters historically have had at high altitudes with sluggish engines.
A Better Mouse Trap. In order to do all of that, obviously Mercury could not simply replicate conventional outboard 4-stroke design and expect anything much different to be the result. It had to engineer a completely different approach to a high-horsepower outboard engine.
At the same time Mercury engineers naturally wanted to create an engine with reduced vibration, noise, emissions and fuel consumption. Using conventional 4-stroke technology as the benchmark, Mercury engineers set to work to improve upon existing products.
The result was the Verado, an engine introduced in 2005 that ended up having other advantages as well, such as more low-end torque and a "maintenance-free-for-life" valve train. What follows is an in-depth look at what, in our opinion, is one of the most sophisticated outboard engine on the market.
Built for Saltwater and Freshwater Applications. The engine is intended for both freshwater and saltwater use. However, the recent introduction of the new optional 5.44" gear case was designed specifically for rugged offshore saltwater applications and has greatly enhanced the potential applications of this engine. There is nothing quite like it on the market.
The new gear case together with its advanced anti-corrosion aluminum alloy and painting regimen, and extensive use of 300 Series stainless steel, arguably makes it the best-prepared engine for the saltwater environment.
Verado -- A Different Way To Make Outboard Power
Simply stated, in an internal combustion engine it takes more air and more fuel to make more power. There are only two ways to do that: 1) increase the size of the combustion chambers; or, 2) "pressure charge" the air going into the combustion chambers by compressing it.
Instead of producing power through the sheer volume of displacement, Mercury engineers chose to minimize displacement and the large pistons and rods that go with it by using a "pressure charging" system.
Not a Big Bore. Big bore engines with big pistons have lots of moving mass that causes vibration and greater stress on metal parts. A rule-of-thumb in industrial design has long been that smaller pistons mean less vibration and less stress on internal components. By embracing this concept the Verado design can provide increased durability and long-term engine reliability.
Less Mass is a Good Thing. The displacement of the 225 Verado is only 158 cubic inches (2.6 liters) as compared with its major competitor which is over 60% more. That means larger pistons, rods, and related components are needed to handle the weight and inertia of heavy internal components traveling at 6000 rpms or more.
But how to get more power from a smaller engine?
This is a generic image of an Eaton, Roots-type, supercharger design which is well-known for providing instant throttle response and powerful torque across the engine's entire powerband. Eaton, which has been building automotive superchargers for 50 years, makes the units used in the Verado.
What "Compression Charging" Does.
Naturally-aspirated engines at sea level suck air into the combustion chambers at normal atmospheric pressure which is 14.7 psi. By adding a supercharger (sometimes called a "compressor" or "blower") to the Verado engine, Mercury engineers were able to nearly double the pressure of air to as much as 29 psi going to the combustion chambers. This is "pressure charging". All things being equal, twice the air means twice the oxygen, which means twice the combustion, and much more power.
The Mercury Verado unique outboard "pressure charge" system: A) Air intake, B) Electronic Boost Pressure Control System, C) Supercharger ("compressor"); D) Intercooler.
The supercharger (C) on the Verado is mechanically powered by the engine's crankshaft which makes it effective even at relatively low rpms. It sucks air in from the atmosphere, compresses it with two ceramic-coated four-lobe rotors twisted 160-degrees, then discharges it at the pressures needed to provide the performance wanted. This process is regulated by the Electronic Boost Control System (B) up to 29 psi.
In this cutaway of a Verado engine the actual vanes of the supercharger can be seen at right.
Intercooler. In conjunction with the supercharger, there is also an intercooler (D), which reduces the temperature of the compressed air prior to entering the combustion chamber. This combination of compression and cooling puts much more oxygen into the cylinder for more powerful combustion.
The Electronic Boost Pressure Control (B) regulates the amount of compressed air going into the combustion chamber depending on ambient temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and altitude -- thus delivering consistent performance with very little horsepower loss over a naturally aspirated design across a wide powerband.
Summer Temperature Map
NOAA temperature map of the U.S. for July 16, 2009. July and August are prime boating months for most of North America, Europe and the Med.
No Heat Stroke. As a result of this sophisticated system the Mercury Verado can deliver maximum horsepower in a wide range of conditions. For example, when the temperature rises 20-degrees F from 77-degrees F and 0% humidity to 97-degrees F and 80% humidity, a naturally aspirated engine loses about 7.7% of its horsepower. That means that an engine rated at 225-hp will have an effective horsepower of 208-hp in those conditions. According to Mercury, the supercharged Verado 225 loses about .5% or 1.12-hp in the same conditions.
(SAE -- Society of Automotive Engineers -- standard J1349 for horsepower ratings, requires them to be calculated at 77-degrees F (25-degrees C) with 0% humidity and barometric pressure of 29.234 inches of mercury at sea level.)
A Summertime Warrior. This makes the Verado an ideal engine to have during the summer when ambient temperatures can reach and exceed 100-degrees F (38-degrees C). Even a 90-degree day at 85% humidity, which is not uncommon in the south and central U.S. in the summer, will reduce horsepower 6.2% in a naturally aspirated engine.
U.S. Altitude Map
Map by the USGS showing altitude by color gradient. White lines are states, the black lines are rivers.
Remedy for Altitude Sickness. Likewise, the thinner air at higher altitudes robs horsepower from all naturally aspirated engines. Further, during the summertime even at high altitudes there is usually some humidity. Using the SAE standard of 77-degrees F and 29.234 inches of mercury and a humidity of 35% following is the horsepower loss at these altitudes and the effective power of a naturally aspirated 225-hp engine--
• 2,000 feet (609 m): - 9.5% -- 203-hp
• 3,000 feet (914 m): -13.3% -- 195-hp
• 4,000 feet (1,219 m): -17.0% -- 187-hp
• 5,000 feet (1,524 m): -20.6% -- 179-hp
The psi at 5,000 feet (1524 m) is 12.9, a drop of 1.8 psi from sea level. Because the Verado supercharged engine is able to develop 29 psi for combustion it loses relatively little horsepower. Again, the Verado's Electronic Boost Pressure Control System compensates for the thinner air.
In a nutshell this is how the Mercury Verado delivers 225-hp from a smaller displacement engine. It is also what makes the Verado an ideal engine for geographic areas where the temperature rises above 77-degrees F or where the air thins out because of altitude. But the story does not stop there.
Greater Torque. Because of the supercharger the Verado has strong low-end torque for fast hole shots and power to raise a heavy skier quickly. It also gives the Verado strong torque throughout the RPM range which means at cruising speeds there is pep left in the engine when needed.
Anglers heading far offshore in the summer heat have the horsepower and torque needed to get out to the fishing grounds fast. Skiers and wakeboarders on hot summer days -- particularly at altitude -- have the torque needed to quickly get on plane.
Mercury 5.44-inch gear case for the Verado 225/250/300 HP outboard engines.
Gear Case Durability.
The Verado 225-hp is offered with a choice of three different gear cases, each designed for specific applications. The standard 4.8-inch gear case has a smaller hydrodynamic profile and was designed for single-engine applications focused mostly on freshwater activities such as sportboats, bass boats, multi-species boats, inshore flats boats and pontoon boats.
The slightly greater drag presented by the larger torpedo shape on the new 5.44" is more than made for by the increased durability of this lower unit.
The "Offshore" 5.44" Gear Case. The new 5.44" gear case is designed for situations where boats are jumping out of the water and props are ventilating. In these conditions there are tremendous stresses on the engine's gear case and it has been designed with strengthened internal components, built specifically for offshore boats over 23-feet in length and over 5,000 lbs.
The 5.44" gear's larger anti-cavitation plate seen at the top compared to the standard unit. It provides increased effectiveness for the props when running at high speed offshore.
Specific Improvements. The torpedo housing of the 5.44" gear is 14% larger in diameter in order to accommodate the larger diameter shafts and gears. The teeth of the gears are 24% bigger, are heat treated, and their bevel angle has been slightly changed. The shafts have longer taper for improved durability and added pinion gear support.
This image shows the difference in size between the standard gear case shaft and pinion gears and the new 5.44" model.
The bearing carrier for the 5.44" gear case is cast from XK360 aluminum alloy and anodized with the SeaCore coating for added corrosion resistance.
Bearings. The bearings are heavy duty with a rear bearing pack with higher load capacity. The bearing carrier is 17% larger and utilizes SeaCore-type anodization for added strength and corrosion resistance.
New Vs. Old Clutch Dog
The new, improved clutch dog has been changed in five major ways.
Clutch Dog. The 5.44" gear has a clutch dog that is 30% longer, and according to Mercury, has five-times greater impact resistance of the standard dog. Taken together Mercury techs tell us that they estimate that the 5.44" gears are 400% more durable.
This is a conceptual representation showing the dichotomy between the amount of copper used in the Mercury XK260 aluminum alloy and the amount of copper used in a typical outboard engine.
Impressive Corrosion Protection. Historically, outboard engines in saltwater have suffered from corrosion. When electrons flow through dissimilar metals the weaker metal is eaten away or corrodes. Outboard engine blocks, cylinder heads, gear cases, drive shaft housings and swivel brackets are made out of an aluminum alloy by all manufacturers. But all aluminum alloys are not the same.
Low-Copper Alloy is Key. The low copper content aluminum alloy used in the Mercury Verado 225's die-cast components such as, gear cases, and drive shaft housings are all made from XK360 aluminum-silicon alloy, while the block and heads are of a A356 low pressurized lost foam casting. Mercury is one of the three manufacturers in the world who utilize this process. Mercury is generally regarded to have the best corrosion-resistant allowed in the recreational marine industry.
The MercFusion Paint System. Having made the metal more corrosion-resistant, Mercury has developed its own process of coating that metal to keep saltwater from touching it in the first place. The photos below illustrate the measures taken and the materials used.
The "MercFusion" Paint system. 1) Low-copper aluminum alloy casting; 2) Irridite metal prep and sealant; 3) Electrically-charged and deposited primer paint that insures uniform and complete coverage; 4) Mercury's powder coat paint that is electrostatically-charged, sprayed on, and then baked.
The MercFusion Paint process consists of a Irridite metal prep and sealant that goes over the aluminum alloy and provides a resistant barrier and a foundation for the two materials that come on top of it. Next the units are dipped in EDP electrically-charged primer that provides complete coverage and seals out the environment from the metal.
Step 1. The gear case torpedo units are bathed in Irridite, a chromate conversion coating typically used on an aluminum substrate parts in the aircraft industry. This sealant is used to be a passivate for the aluminum, copper and manganese in the housing alloy as well as to be a primer.
Step 2. The units are then put through what is called the EDP process. The electrically-charged paint and oppositely charged components create uniform coverage that seals out the environment.
Powder coat paint is the top coat and it contains plasticizers for paint flexibility and better long-term adhesion. It is sprayed on and then thermo-cured. Mercury is the only outboard maker using powder coated paint on its metal lower units.
Step 3. Robots spray the housings with powder coating material which is electro-statically charged for adhesion.
Step 4. Finally the gear case housings are sent through a oven that bakes on the powder coat for hardness.
Only Mercury coats the interior water-cooling passages in the powerhead and its wet exhaust passageways with a special "salt shield" that protects the internal metal from the ravages of saltwater.
Unique Internal "Salt Shield" -- "SS38"
Every owner of an outboard engine used in saltwater knows to flush out the cooling system at the end of the day with fresh water. The reason is that salt build-up can close small passages and corrode the metal where it can't be seen. Mercury uses an internal sealing process along with a special coating in the internal water jackets of the powerhead and wet exhaust.
Mercury is the only outboard engine maker we know of that flushes the powerhead wet exhaust using a process such as this.
Mercury Verado Has More Stainless Steel
Stainless steel alloys resist corrosion, maintain their strength at high temperatures and are easy to maintain. Stainless steel alloys are used predominantly in the automotive, aerospace and construction industries. But all stainless steel alloys are not the same.
300 Series SS. Only 300 Series stainless steel is used in Verados. It is used in props, shift shafts, drive shafts, trim and tilt rams, lower yoke, water pump housing and other components. To our knowledge, no outboard manufacturer uses more or better stainless steel in this engine class.
Some outboard manufacturers use 400 Series stainless steel which does not have as high a degree of corrosion-resistant properties as does 300 Series, but is suitable for household decorative items, appliances, among other things. ("Stainless steel" hardware seen on boats that weeps rust stains is often made of 400 Series SS.)
Powerhead Cradle and Anti-Vibration Mounts
Vibration Inhibitor: Mercury's Advanced Mid-Section
All powerheads no matter how well designed cause vibration. The question is what to do about it. Mercury has designed what it calls the "Advanced Mid-Section" (AMS) to virtually eliminate annoying vibration and the noise that comes with it.
AMS Details. The powerhead is connected to four oversized, calibrated, elastomeric mounts which are designed to isolate and cancel vibrations. The mounts in turn are connected to the cradle which is attached to the outboard engine bracket. The bracket is clamped to the transom.
When the engine is at idle or low rpms, the mounts are soft, but as rpms increase the variable-rate mounts become progressively harder. In both cases the vibration is isolated in the cradle and very little of it is transmitted to the boat. The result is a smoother riding, quieter boat.
The 5" Advantage. The cradle-mount AMS unit seen above sets the engine powerhead 5" behind the transom which aids time-to-plane speeds and smoother running. It also allows the engine to tilt-up a full 73-degree and depending on the hull gets the engine out of the water.
A cylindrical "bucket shim" can be seen here in the tech's right hand. His left hand is holding a valve stem. The shim fits between the valve stem and the lobe on the cam shaft, moving the valve open and closed as the cam shaft rotates.
Maintenance-Free Valve Train for Life.
Importance of Shim Clearance. Six-cylinder DOHC engines (including all 250-hp marine 4-stroke outboards) have 24 valves and 24 valve shims and all must be at optimum clearance (or "lash") for best performance. Typically, before 500 hours of use the lash between the cam lobe, valve shim, and the top of the valve stem changes.
Symptoms of the lash getting out of spec are using oil, loss of performance, increased noise, or a slightly different engine noise. Most manufacturers recommended adjusting valve lash -- re-shimming -- after a certain number of hours. It is not surprising that many people put off this "tune-up" as long as possible.
The $1,000 Bruise. The reason that re-shimming is delayed or avoided is that it typically costs $1,000 or more at current shop labor rates in many parts of the country. This "regular maintenance" is not covered by warranties and is often needed after the engine is out of warranty.
Re-shimming is a time-consuming and tedious job. The clearances of each valve shim must be carefully measured and new shims of the right thickness inserted where needed.
Guaranteed Valve Train Lash For Life. As far as we know, the Mercury Verados are the only outboards that do not need to be re-shimmed. Their valve shim clearance is guaranteed for the life of the engine. Here's why Mercury can offer this money-saving benefit--
The arrows point to a "long bolt" in the cut-away Verado block that ties the powerhead to the bottom of the block and keeps the assembly in a constant state of tension.
Pictured here is the head of a Verado engine showing the "buckets" and 10 cylindrical stainless steel shims already in place. A computer reads the clearance needed for each shim and one of 35 different sizes is selected for each bucket and placed in it by hand.
Computer Technology for Clearance Calibration.
During the manufacturing process a computer precisely measures the shim clearance (which is typically about 10/1,000 of an inch) needed for each of the 24 individual "shim buckets" and selects one of 35 minutely-calibrated shims for each valve. (Mercury shim tolerances range from .006" to .011".) The correct shim is then placed in the powerhead by hand, followed by a second computer check of the calibration.
Power Steering Made in House
High-horsepower engines have prodigious torque which is conveyed to the steering wheel in conventional installations making steering difficult without hydraulic power steering. According to our test captains, Mercury's system not only prevents torque from getting to the steering wheel, it also permits precise, firm control and is quieter at all rpm levels.
How is Merc's Power Steering Different?
BoatTEST.com's captains report Mercury's steering is more like that of a high-performance sports car rather than like the "soft" feel on luxury cars that float on a cloud. This distinctive feel encourages incremental handling, gives the skipper firm control, and protects against over steering.
Mercury is the only outboard manufacturer that makes its own hydraulic power steering system. All other outboard makers rely on builders to buy third party equipment which they install as part of the "rigging" process.
Mercury System Advantages. There are basically four major advantages to the Mercury power steering system:
1) It is engineered and (2) manufactured by Mercury just like any other component of the engine and not made by a third party vendor; 3) It is installed by Mercury factory staff and not by each boat builder's personnel. 4) The system is calibrated to prevent dangerous over-steering at high speeds.
Water-to-Oil Heat Exchanger
The Verado oil heat exchanger system is part of the engine package.
Verado is the only outboard engine in class that has a water-cooled oil heat exchanger with thermostat. In this way the oil can be kept at consistent temperatures to prevent condensation and oil dilution. Keeping water condensation out of the oil pan and other parts means longer life for the engine.
Dry Sump. The Verado 225 is the only engine in class that has a "dry sump" which means that there is no oil in the pan ("wet sump") for the crank shaft to be swinging through on each revolution to splash oil up on the cylinder walls for lubrication.
Mercury has engineered the Verado to reduce sound not only by reducing vibration, but in other ways as well. One example of this effort is the exhaust relief system which is designed to reduce sound at idle with baffles in the exhaust box.
Another strategy is a multi-chambered intake sound attenuator, where the air entering the engine is ducted through specially-shaped and sized chambers to reduce overall noise. There is also acoustic foam lining along the upper cowling and lower cowl to absorb high frequency noise from the engine and drive shaft.
Electronic Data Management and Engine Control
Mercury's VesselView screens are easy to read and can be populated with dozens of diagnostic data points that make boating more worry-free.
SmartCraft Management System
Mercury’s SmartCraft instrumentation provides vital engine information to the operator. When a problem is detected, either a visual or audible alert is sent to the instrument panel and engine power is automatically reduced, advising of a concern and providing a get-home capability.
SmartCraft provides up-to-the-second information on dozens of engine diagnostics, including RPM, fuel flow and management, critical temperature readings, speed, and engine trim. By taking much of the guesswork out of power management, SmartCraft makes time on the water more enjoyable.
The SmartCraft System integrates with VesselView, Smart Tow, Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) and Mercury's advanced control binnacle.
Mercury's DTS binnacle contains numerous buttons to activate important features. We like the design because everything is easy to see, reach and understand at first blush.
Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS)
Mercury was the first outboard builder to introduce drive-by-wire and it was a revolutionary advancement for boating. Even today, Mercury is the only maker of outboard engines that manufacturers its own drive-by-wire system. (Other companies out-source this system to a third party vendor.) DTS provides smooth shifting, instant throttle response, no grinding of gears and effortless control.
Captain-Approved. When we polled our test captains we found that they all like Mercury's DTS system because it is strongly-built, ergonomically correct, and there is an obvious "detent" when shifting that lets the operator know by feel alone when the engine is going into gear forward or reverse.
Mercury seems to be continually improving on the system by adding new features from time to time. Features include--
• Push-button starting
• Automatic engine synchronizer
• Shift protection -- shifts only at safe rpms
• Station transfer button
Mercury DTS Exclusives--
• 1-lever operation of multiple engines
• Docking mode; reduces power by half with full level throw
• Precise troll control; adjusts in 10 rpm increments
225 Verado Warranty
The 225 HP Verado carries a standard 3-year limited warranty, which is non-declining and covers all components. (Some outboard makers do not cover all components for the length of their warranties. Read the fine print.)This warranty also extends to the controls and rigging when installed by a factory-authorized builder.
Corrosion Warranty. The 225-hp Verado also has a 3-year limited warranty on corrosion.
Note the silver-colored cradles which appear to be holding the powerheads -- in fact they are held by the anti-vibration mounts inside.
Mercury Product Protection (MPP). An additional two years of engine product protection can be purchased from the dealer selling Mercury-powered boats. Unlike all other outboard extended service contracts, the Mercury Product Protection coverage is completely administered and backed by Mercury Marine – no other independent provider or insurance company is involved. This protection can be purchased in order to cover up to a total of 7 years, including the original 3 years of limited warranty coverage.
(Most outboard manufacturers rely on third party insurance companies to provide "extended service contracts.")
Two Levels of MPP Factory Coverage. There are "Gold" and "Platinum" levels of MPP coverage, the latter of which is pretty much the same as the original 3-year warranty. The "Gold" coverage, which is less costly, covers all aspects of the engine and gear case, but does not cover solenoids, wiring harnesses, most anything to do with the unit's trim system, the electrical ignition system, and instruments. (Read the fine print.)
There is a $25 deductable for each MPP warranty claim.
Advantages of MPP Warranty Program--
• Factory-backed, no third party insurance company to deal with.
• Up to 7 years of factory-backed coverage is available.
• The MMP extended warranty program is preferred by lending institutions.
• Mercury parts and labor is included.
• It is transferable.
Why is the Verado 225 HP Heavier?
The Verado is from 47 lbs. (21.36 kgs) to 102 lbs. (46.36 kgs.) heavier than the three other 4-stroke 225-hp engines on the market. Here's why it is heavier--
• Since the Verado's hydraulic power steering cylinder is part of the engine package and not supplied by a third party and installed by the boat builder, the other outboard companies do not include this weight as part of their engine. +12 lbs. (5.45 kgs.)
• Only Verado has the water-cooled motor oil heat exchanger system. +10 lbs. (4.54 kgs.)
• The Advanced Mid-Section (AMS) anti-vibration system and cradle which is exclusive to the Verado. +30 lbs. (13.63 kgs.)
• The supercharger, inner cooler and Electronic Boost regulating system. +54 lbs. (22.72 kgs.)
Just as every boat is a compromise, so too is every engine a compromise. In order to create a long-lasting engine that does not lose performance with changes in temperature, humidity and altitude, it simply takes more weight.
The 225 Verado is appropriate for a wide variety of missions.
Verado Gen II Improvements
The radically new Mercury Verado Series was introduced in 2005 -- but it was not perfect. Over the next two years units exposed to hard use began to exhibit problems with different aspects of components used. In several cases, design changes were indicated to improve efficiency and avert potential problems with severe use.
As a result, in 2007 Mercury introduced the "Gen II" version of the Verado, which essentially de-bugged the engine. Over 67 items or details were changed, most having to do with things such as seals, retaining rings, bushings, O rings, and the like. Two of the more major improvements are shown below.
Windage vs. Fluid Dynamics
The Verado's Dry Sump is more efficient because the crank is turning in air not in a fluid.
Conventional internal combustion engines have "wet sumps" which means the crank shaft splashes through the oil in the pan with every revolution thereby lubricating the cylinder walls. But oil has more mass and drag than does air. By creating a "dry sump" the crankshaft meets far less resistance when turning.
This design change resulted in a significant reduction in friction, an increase of 15-hp, better fuel efficiency and longer range. Mercury calls this their "Range Plus Powertrain." This change, plus other modifications, made the Gen II Verado engines competitive with conventional 4-stroke engines on the market.
We have tested the Mercury 225 Verado in five boats -- one center console (single engine), one dual console (twin engines), one express (twin engines) and two three-toons (both single engines). Despite the differences in the types of boats tested, the first thing that becomes obvious is the dichotomy between single and twin-engine installations.
Weight is All-Important. The twin-engine installation boats weighed from 5,200-lbs. (2,363 kgs.) to 7,300 lbs. (3,318 kgs.) dry and without power. The three single engine installations were all around 3,000 lbs. (1,363 kgs.), dry, without power. Clearly boats over 5,000 lbs. (2,272 kgs.) should have twin 225 Verados for both top-end performance and good time to plane. Boats around 3,000 lbs. (1,363 kgs.) can perform satisfactorily with a single 225 Verado.
The 225 Verado weighs 635 lbs. (288 kgs.).
The Questionable Area. Boats around 4,000 lbs. (1,818 kgs.), dry and without an engine, are in a "no-man's land" as far as the 225-hp Verado and performance is concerned. There boaters should consider going to a single 250 Verado or twin 200s, depending on the type of boat and performance expected. Remember that an extra engine creates added weight that must be overcome so twin installations will not be as efficient as a single.
Light Center Console Performance
The Mako 212 CC tested with a single Mercury 225 Verado has an LOA of 21' (6.4 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m) and weighed 3,100 lbs. (1,409 kgs.) dry, without the engine.
The performance table above shows a top speed of 41 mph and a best cruise of 24.3 mph at 3500 rpm where the boat traveled 3.19 statute miles on a gallon (3.8 L) of gas. The boat's time to plane was 4.3 seconds and it took 9.1 seconds from 0 to 30 mph. There were two aboard, full fuel, and the ambient temperature was 74-degrees F with the humidity at 43% at the time of the test. These are somewhat favorable conditions so we consider this test relatively close to optimum for this boat and engine combination.
Because this boat is intended for coastal fishing and not towing sports we would not be concerned about the time to plane. We think that a cruising speed of 24 mph is comfortable, but for those who like to go faster, note that at 30 mph the engine burns only 7% more fuel.
Three-toon Pontoon Boats
This is the performance table for our test of the Harris Flotebote Grand Mariner 25 tri-toon. This boat weighed 3,220 lbs. (1,463 kgs.) dry, without an engine.
These are the performance numbers for the Cypress Cay Cayman 250 with a dry weight without engine of 2,997 lbs. (1,362 kgs.).
The props on the two three-toons tested above were different which keeps us from comparing performance between the two boats. All outboard-powered boats are weight-sensitive, but pontoon boats are particularly so. The 220-lbs. (100 kg.) weight difference plus the prop geometry account for the difference in performance seen above.
Because the Harris Grand Mariner 250 had a smaller pitch it was able to have a time to plane of only 3.2 seconds which is ideal for towing sports and was 1.4 seconds faster than the lighter boat. The Cypress Cay Cayman, however, with a greater pitch was able to have both a higher top speed and better fuel economy at cruising speeds.
27' Dual Console
The dual console Boston Whaler 270 Vantage weighs 5,200 lbs. (2,363 kgs,) dry, without an engine. She has a 9' (2.74 m) beam and a 20-degree deadrise.
The top speed of the 270 Vantage was 47.2 mph and she weighed about 6,300-lbs. (2,863 kgs.) on test day. Note that best cruise came in at 4000 rpm where the boat went 30.9 mph burning 16.5 gph/62.46 lph.
Express Cruiser Performance
The Boston Whaler 285 Conquest is an express fishboat that weighs 7,300 lbs. (3,318 kgs.) dry, without an engine and had a beam of 9'6" (2.89 m) and a deadrise of 20-degrees.
With the twin engines, and half-load of fuel and two people aboard we had a test weight of about 9,710 lbs. (4,413 kgs.). Best cruise was found to be at 4000 rpms where the boat went 25.7 mph.
Made for Saltwater. While the engine has long been popular in freshwater applications, we think with the introduction of the 5.44" gear case, the industry-leading, anti-corrosion system, sterling warranty, and ability to maintain its horsepower in hot and humid climates the 225-hp Verado is a compelling 4-stroke choice for offshore saltwater boaters.
Gen II Important. The 67 changes Mercury made in 2007 to the Verado solved its major problems and made the engines competitively fuel-efficient at cruising speeds.
WOT Performance. Since tests of engines at wide open throttle (WOT) do not measure actual horsepower produced, an important part of the performance picture is unknown. What is known is top speed and fuel consumption. Verados -- which because of their supercharger and inner cooler clearly produce something near its rated horsepower in a wide range of conditions -- are more likely to go faster in an apples-to-apples comparison when it is hot and humid, and at altitude. This holds for both single engine and multi-engine applications.
Factory Warranty. Mercury's factory-backed warranty, which can be extended up to 7 years, is unique in the industry and indicates to us that the company stands behind its product. The Brunswick Corporation does not take on liabilities lightly, so it, too, evidently has great trust in the durability of these engines.